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Toolbox Talk - Back pain

Max People Health & Safety Bulletin

Well that hurt.......

Work-related back pain is one of the most common workplace injuries. It is usually caused by work activities, such as sitting for long periods or heavy lifting.

Whether it's dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Unfortunately, many occupations — such as machine operation, driving and construction work — can place significant demands on your back. Even routine office work can cause or worsen back pain. Understand what causes back pain at work and what you can do to prevent it.

Prevention is a far better choice than possibly enduring months of pain and sleepless nights.


Tips for back care

  • Do back-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 days a week.
  • Get active and eat a balanced diet.
  • Pay attention to posture. When standing, balance your weight evenly on your feet. Don't slouch. To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that supports your spinal curves
  • Lift properly. When lifting and carrying a heavy object, lift with your legs and tighten your core muscles. Hold the object close to your body. Maintain the natural curve of your back. Don't twist when lifting. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, ask someone to help you.
  • Modify repetitive tasks. Use lifting devices, when available, to help lift loads. Try to alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair are positioned properly. 
  • Listen to your body. If you must sit for a prolonged period, change your position often. Periodically walk around and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension.
  • Sleep sideways. You don't want to sleep flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you must sleep on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back. Having a supportive mattress and pillow for your head are vital as well.
  • Quit smoking. It's well known that smoking raises your risk for heart disease and cancer, including lung and colon cancers, but most people don't realize that smoking also can be a cause of persistent back pain. Research also shows smoking can make existing back pain worse. 

Look after yourselves team! Be safe out there.